Reds hope to even set with Phillies

( - The Cincinnati Reds try to avoid losing a fifth series in the last six when they resume a three-game set Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The Reds had won three in a row and four of five games until Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Phillies. The visitors had a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning, when the Phillies started to come alive.

Chase Utley, who finished 3-for-4, led off the sixth with a home run, then Maikel Franco tied it with a two-run homer to even the score in the bottom of the eighth. The Reds appeared to be headed to the ninth with the lead, but Jay Bruce misplayed Ryan Howard's two-out double and Franco followed with a blast down the left-field line.

"I just couldn't see it," Bruce said. "It was a helpless feeling. It's frustrating and I don't know what else I could do. Then the homer afterward put the icing on the cake."

Darin Ruf won it for the Phillies with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Tony Cingrani was charged with the loss and Reds starter Johnny Cueto gave up two runs (1 earned) and five hits in six innings. Cueto missed his previous start because of elbow stiffness.

"It doesn't feel 100 percent yet, but it's progressing. I'm getting better," Cueto said. "Not really in the elbow situation. Thank God, I feel great. I felt kind of nervous in the beginning because coming from an injury, you don't know what to expect. Overall, I felt really good. It's just about being ready and being back in shape."

Joey Votto had two hits and two RBI, while Zack Cozart went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Reds, who are only 4-11 in their last 15 games.

Reds outfielder and former Phillie Marlon Byrd fractured his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. X-rays revealed the damage and it is unknown how many games Byrd will miss.

"I would not anticipate having him available, not in this series, and there's a possibility he could be DL'd here, too," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Mike Leake draws the start for Cincinnati tonight and he is 2-4 with a 4.66 earned run average in 10 starts. Leake has lost his last three trips to the mound and the Reds are winless in his past four appearances, including last Wednesday's 6-4 setback to Colorado. Leake gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings.

Leake has been tagged for 20 runs over his last three starts and has faced the Phillies six times in his career, going 1-3 with a 7.41 ERA.

The Phillies ended a seven-game slide with their last-inning heroics and are 3-10 in their last 13 games.

"It seemed like for the last week and a half we've been missing that big hit, and Franco got the dugout energized," Ruf said.

Jonathan Papelbon picked up the win in relief and starting pitcher Sean O'Sullivan permitted all four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Phillies ace Cole Hamels gets the nod Wednesday and hopes to bounce back into the win column. Hamels had won four straight and five of six starts until Friday's 4-1 loss to Colorado, as he gave up two runs in eight innings. The left-hander and 2008 World Series MVP has given up two runs just twice in his past five outings and has dominated the Reds in his career, going a perfect 9-0 with a 1.51 ERA in 12 starts.

Overall, Hamels is 5-4 in 11 starts with a 2.91 ERA.

Cincinnati and Philadelphia split six meetings a season ago and will play three more times at Great American Ball Park next week.